Leading article

Vigil sends firm message to killers of Michael McGibbon

The large turnout of local people in support of Joanne McGibbon and her family on Tuesday night sent out a strong message to the dissident republicans who took the life of a husband and father.

People gathered in the grounds of Holy Cross Church where they heard Mrs McGibbon urge the Ardoyne community to `stick together' following the murder of Michael McGibbon, shot and left to bleed to death in an alleyway on Friday night.

The vast majority of people will not only reject the actions of the killers but also the weasel words of the paramilitary group known as the `IRA' who claimed their intention was only to carry out a punishment shooting adding: ``Tragically this resulted in his death.''

This statement is beneath contempt.

Anyone who takes the cold-blooded decision to shoot another person will know there is a risk of death.

It has happened in the past when a so-called punishment attack has caused fatal injuries.

Mr McGibbon was shot three times in the leg and left bleeding on the ground and those who pumped three bullets into this father of four are guilty of murder.

What is truly shocking is the fact that despite this north Belfast attack ending in death, dissidents carried out another paramilitary-style shooting in Derry on Monday night.

Harry Boyle (25) was left in a critical condition as a result of two gunshot wounds to his leg, inflicted at Magowan Park in the Creggan area.

Thankfully, he survived this appalling attack but it is clear he suffered such severe injuries that the outcome could have been very different.

The sad truth is that appeals to basic humanity and conscience within the dissident groups are essentially ignored.

In their own twisted way, they will try to justify their violent activities and may even claim some support for `punishment' shootings.

But that does not make their barbaric behaviour right or acceptable.

It is sheer gangsterism and this society wants it to stop.

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